MATCH PREVIEW: Red Bulls vs. Earthquakes

PREVIEW: RBNY look to rebound at home vs. San Jose

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
BUY TICKETS
7 p.m. ET (MSG; CSN-CA)
B

The New York Red Bulls return home to face the San Jose Earthquakes in a key interconference clash for both clubs on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are still hanging on to the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, after their five-game undefeated run was put to an end in a 3-1 loss at Philadelphia Union at midweek. The Quakes find themselves at the foot of the Western Conference, losing their fourth game on the trot last time out in a 2-1 home loss to D.C. United last week.

REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Claudio Badea; AR2 (opposite): Danny Thornberry; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 27.1; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 15

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Lloyd Sam
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Jamison Olave … SJ: Steven Lenhart, Sam Cronin, Jordan Stewart, Alan Gordon
DISABLED LIST: SJ: Tommy Muller
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Santiago Castano (U.S. U-20) … SJ: Tommy Thompson (U.S. U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (34 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins (0 shootout), 49 goals … Earthquakes 16 wins (2 shootout), 53 goals … Ties 8
AT NEW YORK (17 meetings): Red Bulls 8 wins (0 shootout), 32 goals … Earthquakes 4 wins (0 shootout), 17 goals … Ties 5

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/10: SJ 2, NY 1 (Jahn 83; Wondolowski 92+ -- Alexander 16)
• This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
• The Quakes won 2-1 in Santa Clara in the only meeting between the teams a season ago.
• The Red Bulls had won four home meetings in a row vs. San Jose before the teams played to a 2-2 draw in their last meeting at Red Bull Arena in 2012.
• New York’s last victory in league play in northern California came in a 2-0 win Oct. 5, 2003 at Spartan Stadium. The Earthquakes have won five of the eight meetings at home since, with three draws.
• Coaches record: Mark Watson vs. NY: first game … Mike Petke vs. SJ: P1 W0 L1 D0

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls had their undefeated run put to an end after five matches, falling 3-1 to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at PPL Park. The Red Bulls are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 19 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

• Union opened the scoring in the ninth minute. After spraying a pass out wide to Andrew Wenger, Conor Casey received a perfect cross in return in the area and beat goalkeeper Luis Robles to his left.
• Union doubled the lead in the 51st minute. This time Casey played provider, getting a nice little touch on the ball to redirect a Sheanon Williams cross to allow Fred to pounce and drive home a low shot from the center of the box.
• The Red Bulls pulled a goal back nine minutes later when Thierry Henry made a simple pass across the edge of the box for Bradley Wright-Phillips, who was given too much space and calmly finished past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
• But Union restored the margin after Maurice Edu was dragged down in the box by Eric Alexander on a corner kick, and referee Baldomero Toledo whistled for the 68th-minute penalty. Le Toux then converted the spot kick.
• Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that strolled to a 4-1 win against the Columbus Crew at Red Bull Arena. Dax McCarty came into the team in place of Bobby Convey.
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall (Connor Lade 89), Jamison Olave, Matt Miazga, Ambroise Oyongo - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty (Bobby Convey 87), Tim Cahill, Eric Alexander (Andre Akpan 80) - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry.

TEAM NEWS

• The Red Bulls suffered their first loss since May 24, when they went down to a 2-1 home defeat by the Portland Timbers.
• “Out of all the Philly teams I’ve faced this I felt that this was the most vulnerable team I faced, this is the team that was the most ripe to take points. There was an individual defending mistake on the first goal, two individual mistakes on the second, and a penalty kick that I’m not very happy about,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “At the end of the day it’s the second game in four days and we have a game three days from now, it’s our first loss in six games, so we have to move on to the game this weekend.”
• The Red Bulls conceded three or more goals in a game for a third time this season. Their 1.58 goals against average ranks 13th in MLS.
• “Collectively we have to get better defensively. I don’t even remember the last time we had a clean sheet,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “It just seems like last year we had a certain toughness that we have to find. I just think the worst thing we can do is point fingers because we have a quick turnaround.”
• The Red Bulls have also allowed eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches, the most in MLS this season.
• “It can’t keep happening every week," said midfielder Tim Cahill, "because it just means we have to score four goals to win every game [or] two, three just to get a draw.” Added Robles: “It’s a trend that we have to find a solution to, giving up early goals. But the worst part about the early goals that we’re giving up is just our own mistakes.”
• Bradley Wright-Phillips extended his lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with his 16th goal of the season, having scored goals in four consecutive games. Wright-Phillips has 15 goals over the last 12 league games, since April 23.
• “Bradley had some opportunities and he put one away. He’s up to 16 goals now, which is great and it’s great that he keeps scoring,” said Petke. “But we need to work on keeping the ball out of the net.”
• Thierry Henry consolidated his league lead in assists with his 10th of season, his fourth over the last two games. All 10 of Henry’s assists this season have come in the last 11 games, since April 23, and seven of the 10 have set up goals by Wright-Phillips.
• Rookie Ambroise Oyongo made his fourth consecutive start at left back, recording the third assist of his career over that time.
• “The concept with the two backs in there it’s just experience that’s going to take time. Usually you have preseason to do this but we’re at midseason to do this with an important stretch of games right now. So, we’re going to go back to the training pitch and recover a bit and then play again in less than 72 hours,” Robles said. “This is the part of the season where you start getting some separation or things continue to get tighter. We had a big opportunity to move ahead a few a points and we didn’t.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes lost their fourth consecutive match, falling 2-1 to D.C. United on Friday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 16 games.

LAST MATCH

• United took the lead in the 12th minute. After a shot was deflected by the right arm of Quakes right back Brandon Barklage, referee Jair Marrufo immediately pointed to the spot. Eddie Johnson took the resulting penalty and sent it past the dive of San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch, who guessed correctly to no avail.
• United doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Chris Rolfe rolled a cross in from the left wing where Luis Silva was making a sharp near-post run, and his sliding touch at the edge of the six-yard box left Busch no chance at the far post.
• The Quakes pulled a goal back in the 39th minute. Receiving the ball just outside the area, Chris Wondolowski took two touches before hitting a left-footed drive which took a deflection off a United defender that left goalkeeper Bill Hamid as the ball sailed to the back of the net.
• Quakes head coach Mark Watson made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Chivas USA at Buck Shaw Stadium. Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez came into central defense in place of Jason Hernandez and Ty Harden, and Atiba Harris and Chris Wondolowski came into the team for Cordell Cato and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi.
• SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Brandon Barklage (Shaun Francis 46), Clarence Goodson, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart (Alan Gordon 81) - Atiba Harris (Shea Salinas 67), Khari Stephenson, Sam Cronin, Yannick Djalo - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.

TEAM NEWS

• The Quakes saw their losing streak extended to four games, the longest since losing five in a row in 2009. The club record losing run is six games, set July 15-Aug. 16, 2000.
• “It’s disappointing to lose anytime, especially at home. For once, we were healthy and had good availability,” said Quakes head coach Mark Watson. “Maybe it’s a bit more disappointing, but to put yourself in a two-goal hole is difficult in any place. You try to take the positives out of a game, but it’s tough when you lose. We created a lot of chances and we just need to do a bit better putting those away.”
• Making his first MLS appearance since his return from the U.S. national team and the FIFA World Cup, following a six-match absence, Chris Wondolowski scored his sixth goal of the season for the Quakes goal.
• “We did not get the result we all wanted. I thought we played very well at times,” said Wondolowski. “We had a couple of let downs, granted D.C. United is a very good team. We did not capitalize on our chances and we got punished at the end for it.”
• The Wondolowski goal was the first scored by San Jose in a league game since May 31, putting an end to their goalless drought after 354 minutes, the second-longest in MLS this season (the Houston Dynamo went 480 minutes between goals).
• “Wondo always gives you a boost. He looked good and had a couple moments to put another one or two away,” Watson said. “Chris would be the first to tell you he would rather have the victory [than the goal], but it’s good to have him back. Wondo is a big piece of this team moving forward.”
• Returning to a central midfield role after playing as an out-and-out striker in the Chivas USA match, Khari Stephenson recorded his second assist of the season. Stephenson has assisted on each of the last two San Jose goals.
• Victor Bernardez made his first start since May 10 following his return from the FIFA World Cup, while Clarence Goodson returned to the lineup following a two-match absence, in forming the central defense partnership.
• “You look at our matches this year and there have been stretches when we’ve played well. Then we hit those poor spells and that’s how we give up bad goals,” Goodson said. “To be fair, we haven’t given up too many goals this year. In regards to a second-half resurgence, I think it’s all there for us. We need to find ways to be better for longer stretches. When we are struggling, get back to a better shape and that will minimize goals. If we do that, you will see games like this fall our way.”
• After missing the last two matches with an abdominal strain, Shea Salinas was able to come off the substitutes’ bench for the final quarter of the United match.
• “Shea has been struggling with an injury for a long time and we tried to get it right with the break,” said Watson. “The situation presented itself for him to get some minutes tonight and I thought he looked lively. He’s someone who thrives on going at defenders and putting balls in the box and I thought for his first minutes in a long time, he did well.”